Beware of the Food Waste

Beware of the Poisonous Household Food Waste

We have been seeing increased numbers of cases of tremorgenic mycotoxicosis (which means ‘tremor-inducing mould poisoning’) in pets. There have been several severe cases needing emergency treatment and it’s something that dog owners in particular should be aware of as we store more of our waste and rubbish for recycling.

Mould growing on decaying food or compost releases poisons, which cause signs a few hours after being eaten. In many cases, more than one dog in the family is affected as they all join in when breaking into containers.

Severity can vary. A dog may be mildly affected with slight twitching of muscles or stiffness in the legs, or it may suffer severe, sustained seizures and tremors. This depends on the amount of poison eaten and usually the ‘gannet’ of the family will be worst affected.

In severe cases, the poisoning can be fatal if not properly treated. Sustained seizures cause the body temperature to rise uncontrollably and damage to muscles releases more toxic chemicals into the blood stream. Liver and kidney failure can follow.

However, with prompt treatment most dogs do survive and make a complete recovery. They need intensive care; we station a vet nurse ‘kennel-side’ to constantly monitor the dog and administer treatments. Severe seizures are controlled with infusions of anti-convulsant drugs; intravenous fluids flush out toxins and keep internal organs working; and cooling treatments regulate body temperature. The worst of the seizures and tremors usually resolve within 24 - 48 hours and most of our cases have been able to go home after three days or so.

Our pictures show Indie the Viszla while she was hospitalised for mycotoxicosis. Her sister Yana also showed mild signs. Bella and Rosie, the spaniels, were both badly affected. Thankfully the dogs have made good recoveries, as have other cases, but their owners are all keen to stress how frightening the experience was for all concerned.

It’s always a great relief to get a patient through such a dramatic and serious illness but as with so many things, prevention is better than cure. Please keep your waste and recycling containers secure where pets can't get them and keep a close eye on dogs when out and about - especially if they have a tendency to follow their noses and go rummaging! 

If you think your pet may have eaten waste or is showing any of the signs described above, please call us immediately for advice and treatment.